Q: How is oat milk made? I’ve heard something about enzymes?
A: Making oat milk is a magical process that basically involves bags of whole, gluten free Canadian grown oats straight from the field, an amazing enzyme called amylase and a bunch of water.
But if you’re looking for a more scientific answer, then take it from our scientists: Oats contain a high percentage of starch (as well as good levels protein and fibre). When cooked, the starch in the oats absorbs the water, creating a mixture which we then convert to an extract. This is done by adding an enzyme called amylase and cutting the starch into smaller chain carbohydrates, which prevents the oat from gelling and the added unique process in our line it allows the protein and fibre to be released into our milk. The shorter chain carbohydrates are also what creates the natural sweetness you’ll love in our oat beverages.
Q: I’ve heard that oatmilk uses Canola (or rapeseed) oil to add creaminess and body. Do you?
A: No canola oil used here!
Although oat makes a naturally creamy plant-based milk, it doesn’t have the creaminess of dairy milk because it doesn’t have the same amount of fat. The addition of oil helps to add that richness and allows for optimal foaming on hot drinks (like coffee).
Happy Planet doesn’t use canola oil and instead relies on sunflower oil to generate that richness and texture. Sunflower oil is also much healthier as it has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and doesn’t cause inflammation in the body the way canola does. Not only that, using expeller-pressed, sunflower oil means not relying on chemicals to get the oil out of the plant. Other brands add canola oil because it is less expensive than sunflower oil. But not us!
Brands that currently use canola oil include Oatly.
Q: Apparently not all oat is created equal and some oats contain gluten! What’s up with that?
A: We only source gluten-free oats, certified to be under 20 PPM. We are also super strict about making sure that any of our facilities that also buy wheat, rye or barley (the usual cross contamination sources for gluten) keep it far, far away from our oats. Nothing to worry about here, folks. Celiac friendly to a fault.
Q: Do Happy Planet oatmilks use pesticides?
A: Like all crops, oats sometimes rely on herbicides to control weeds + grubby pests. The good news is that our oat supplier, Grain Millers, has very strict rules about which herbicides are allowed to touch our oats. And they do not use any pesticides whatsoever, which means a healthier you and a healthier planet.
Oat is also better at relying on natural remedies first, like early planting. Early establishment of oats allows the crop to canopy and compete better with weeds. They are also known to provide an allelopathic (the chemical inhibition of one plant acting as a germination or growth inhibitor) residue that hinders germination of many weeds. In addition, the seeding rate plays a factor in overall weed control. An adequate stand will help shade and create stronger competition against weeds.
With conventional oats (ie: not organic), farmers are allowed to use a select number of approved herbicides to help promote weed control. At the end of the day, buying organic is the only way to ensure your oat milk is free from pesticides + herbicides.
Pre-harvest Glyphosate (Round-Up)
Q: I’m hearing about Round-Up (a probable carcinogen) as it is often used to speed up drying time needed to harvest grains. Could it be found in Happy Planet Oat milk?
A: Not a chance. Our supplier, Grain Millers, intentionally buy 100% glyphosate free oats from farmers that don’t use Round-Up (glyphosate). They made a public announcement last year that they would not buy Canadian oats desiccated with glyphosate. They said that glyphosate disrupts the natural maturing process and starch development, resulting in lower quality flakes and flour.
Q: What about GMO’s?
A: Happy Planet only sources ingredients verified by the Non-GMO Project. Every time.
Q: My kid’s school has a long list of foods not allowed in lunches because of food allergies. Please tell me I can serve this to kids!
A: Good news! Because Oatmilk is totally and completely nut free, it’s school safe. Add in that it’s also gluten-free, it can be given to kids with nut + gluten allergies.
Q: Happy Planet packs claim that Oats are grown using 7x less water than almond or cow’s milk. How do you figure that?
A: We know, right?! The amazing thing about growing oats (think beautiful, expansive prairies) is that they don’t need a lot of help to grow. Just good old-fashioned rainwater + sunshine. And because there is no irrigation or heavy pesticide use, it doesn’t use or pollute the groundwater (a big factor in the high almond water intake).
You may ask how we figured all this out. The good folks who conducted the original Water Footprint study have an amazingly scientific methodology that we followed with a full report to back-up our findings.
Q: What is beta-glucan? I’ve seen some oat milks have it but not all.
A: Our oat milks all contain between 0.7 grams (Chocolate) and 0.8 grams (Original and Vanilla) of beta-glucan per 250mL serving.
While awareness of Beta Glucan isn’t high, it is has been found to be extremely good for you. It’s a naturally produced soluble fiber found in oats (among other plants, algae, yeasts), thought to lower cholesterol levels and improve the immune system by stimulating the production of cells associated with the immune system which prevent infections. Now you have one more reason to drink our oatmilk every day!